'the government of the united states is not, in any sense, founded on the christian religion.'
--john adams, 2nd u.s. president, in the treaty of tripoli, 1796
'but a short time elapsed after the death of the great reformer of the jewish religion before his principles were departed from by those who professed to be his special servants, + perverted into an engine for enslaving mankind, + aggrandizing their oppressors in church + state: that the purest system of morals ever before preached to man has been adulterated + sophisticated, by artificial constructions, into a mere contrivance to filch wealth + power to themselves, that rational men not being able to swallow their impious heresies, in order to force them down their throats, they raise the hue + cry of infidelity, while themselves are the greatest obstacles to the advancement of the real doctrines of jesus, + do in fact constitute the real anti-christ.'
--thomas jefferson, author of the declaration of independence + 3rd u.s. president, in an unsent 1810 letter
'faith is believing something you know ain't true.'
--mark twain, novelist, in following the equator, 1897
'the whole scheme of christian salvation is diabolical as revealed by the creeds. an angry god, imagine such a creator of the universe. angry at what he knew was coming + was himself responsible for. then he sets himself about to beget a son, in order that the child should beg him to forgive the sinner. this however he cannot or will not do. he must punish somebody--so the son offers himself up + our creator punishes the innocent youth, never heard of before--for the guilty and became reconciled to us. . . . . I decline to accept salvation from such a fiend.'
--andrew carnegie, u.s. industrialist + philanthropist, in a 1905 letter